Dissolving Fillers? Here's What You Need To Know

28 Feb.,2024


You’ve likely heard of a few celebs who’ve recently claimed to be dissolving their fillers. Or maybe you’ve decided you’re not happy with your own fillers and want to get them dissolved thanks to lumps, bumps or looking over-done. Whatever you’re here for, we’ll give you the answers to some common filler dissolving questions, with a little bit of help from the lovely Dr Jess Halliley - AKA Your Beauty Doctor.

When do fillers start to dissolve on their own?

Let’s start with the question “does filler dissolve naturally?” Well, if we’re talking about hyaluronic acid filler, yes, it does. But, unlike anti-wrinkle treatments, which takes around three to four months to metabolise, filler can last up to a couple of years and, even then, you might still be left with some residual filler.

The great thing about hyaluronic acid filler is that it’s reversible, so if you do have any issues with it or don’t want to wait for it to dissolve on its own, you can get it dissolved. However, Dr Jessica Halliley, GP and founder of Your Beauty Doctor, warns, “Fillers that are available from UK CQC registered pharmacies containing only hyaluronic acid and lidocaine are not permanent and do gradually get broken down. Always make sure you ask your practitioner where they get their products from. If it isn’t a UK CQC registered pharmacy, stay clear. I have had patients come for filler dissolving and we have found no response to filler dissolving, with practitioners having obtained cheap products from abroad.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you need to know when it comes to dissolving fillers, whether that’s lips, cheeks or elsewhere.

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Simon Cowell spoke openly about getting his facial filler dissolved

Why are so many people getting their fillers dissolved?

There have been countless headlines recently about celebs getting their fillers dissolved. Courtney Cox, Gemma Collins, Molly Mae, Simon Cowell, and, more recently, Love Island’s Shaughna and more recently Blac Chyna. So, why do people, generally, get their fillers dissolved?

Dr Jess says, “The most common area by far people come to get dissolved is lips, and nine out of ten times it is due to filler migration. Disclaimer - not my work! In terms of other areas of the face, I'd say it is usually due to overfilling - their result is not “natural, they are starting to look 'done,' or they feel like they don't look like themselves anymore.” And it seems to be this that has driven the likes of GC, Molly Mae and Shaughna to get their fillers dissolved. The fact that they’d perhaps taken their lips or cheeks too far and were looking to get back to a more natural look. The terms ‘pillow face’, ‘sausage lips’, ‘duck lips’ and ‘trout pout’ have all come about as a result of this ‘overdone’, unnatural appearance that many people are beginning to distance themselves from, nowadays.

But that’s not all. Dr Jess also explains, “rarely, dissolving is done as a treatment for a specific complication from filler. E.g. a granuloma, or more urgently, a vascular occlusion.” This is a much more serious reason to get fillers dissolved and, without the treatment, can leave patients in a critical condition. If filler hits a blood vessel, causing a vascular occlusion, it could lead to blindness, necrosis or even death. If this is the case, get in touch with the practitioner who treated you, or a medically qualified practitioner you can trust to get you seen straight away.

When it comes to fillers (and dissolving filler), it’s vital to search for a healthcare practitioner who is trained not only in aesthetic procedures but also in complications. One who will be there for you in case anything does go wrong - and there’s a chance it will with any aesthetic procedure.”

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Molly Mae recently had her lip filler dissolved

What is filler migration?

Interestingly, Dr Jess mentioned above that a key reason for dissolving fillers - particularly lip fillers - is migration. So, what is filler migration?

Filler migration is where the filler, which is injected into one area, shifts to another area, making it look strange and unnatural. This is more likely to happen when the injector isn’t experienced or skilled in fillers. So, as we always say at Glowday, do your research and see a healthcare professional who truly knows what they’re doing. It’s your face and the last thing you want, instead of your fillers making you look fresh, plumped or rejuvenated is to look weird, bumpy or unnatural.

What’s used to dissolve filler?

Ok, so how does dissolving fillers work? For lips, cheeks and other parts of the face that have been filled with hyaluronic acid fillers, there’s an enzyme called hyaluronidase - or Hyalase - that can be used to dissolve fillers. This is a prescription only medicine and should only be used by a healthcare practitioner to dissolve fillers, as it does come with side effects and risks that the injector should be fully aware of and capable of dealing with if they arise.

Hyaluronidase is injected into the target area, and gets to work by dissolving the filler in that area. After a bit of initial swelling, you’ll likely see a significant reduction in the area that’s been dissolved.

Does dissolving fillers hurt?

A question that I know a lot of people will be wanting the answer to is ‘is dissolving filler painful?’ The answer is that it will likely feel uncomfortable. For some, getting their fillers dissolved is painful, whereas for others it doesn’t hurt as much as getting filler in the first place. Numbing solution or anaesthetic is applied before the filler dissolving enzyme is used, in order to make it as comfortable as possible.

Who can dissolve fillers?

Before you go to get dermal fillers in the first place, it’s important to know that anyone can, theoretically, do this procedure, as there’s no law against it in the UK. I’m not trained in the techniques required to do a good job, but I could buy filler, pick up a needle and do your fillers for you now. But I won’t. Because I wouldn’t have the nerve to inject without having the first clue about where exactly I need to inject, the areas I absolutely need to avoid to prevent complications, the side effects and risks, and knowing exactly what to do should anything go wrong. But there are a lot of lay injectors out there who happily do just that. Some are skilled, some are not. However, the safest possible thing you can do when getting fillers is to go to a healthcare provider who’s trained to a high level in aesthetics and complications, and who will be there for you if anything goes wrong. And with non-surgical procedures, like lip fillers and cheek fillers there’s always that risk that something could go wrong. It’s a medical procedure, after all.

When it comes to dissolving fillers, it’s a different story. Hyaluronidase is a prescription-only medicine, meaning it can only be prescribed by a medic. And this is for very good reason, as, in the wrong hands, it could be incredibly dangerous.

Where should you go if you want to dissolve your fillers?

In the last few years, it’s become common for healthcare practitioners to receive requests from patients who have been elsewhere for their fillers, had bad results and have then wanted to book in to get their fillers dissolved or corrected. And this is something that Dr Jess has noticed in her clinic.

She says, “The vast majority of filler dissolving I perform in my own clinic is from work carried out by other practitioners. I always recommend the patient reach out to their original practitioner first if they are not happy, to give them the opportunity to rectify the issue. Ultimately, as the initial injector, they have valuable information regarding exactly where was injected, the techniques they used and the product.

Unfortunately, I am seeing more and more patients who have indeed reached out to their practitioner, but been told that they do not offer dissolving. This is because Hyaluronidase is a prescription only medication, so only licensed healthcare professionals are able to get their hands on it. Be wary of non-medics who do offer dissolving, as you cannot obtain hyaluronidase from UK pharmacies without a valid prescription. Where are they getting their stock from?!"

Can I dissolve my fillers at home?

There have been few videos and stories, recently, about people dissolving fillers at home. Please don’t do this - for your own safety. Talking about filler dissolving at home, Dr Jess says, “It’s an absolutely awful idea! As mentioned, the enzyme that we use to dissolve is prescribed, or can be held as stock, by doctors. Dissolving filler is a medical procedure and should only be carried out by healthcare professionals specifically trained in that area. You risk serious consequences, e.g. facial infection and scarring, if trying to do this at home. I always perform a patch test before dissolving in my clinic, due to the small risk of anaphylaxis with hyaluronidase.”

So, leave dissolving fillers to the (healthcare) pros. Not even a step by step video will do the job on this one, I’m afraid.

Can I get my fillers dissolved if I’m pregnant?

No. No healthcare practitioner worth their salt would consider treating a pregnant woman with fillers or filler dissolving solution. It’s also advised that you shouldn’t get fillers or get fillers dissolved while breastfeeding, as it’s not yet clear what effect this could have on babies.

Is dissolving filler safe?

Dissolving filler with hyaluronidase is safe when done by a healthcare professional with the right credentials and skills. As I keep saying, this is crucial! But there are still some risks that can occur, even in the safest of hands. These vary depending on the area being treated, but filler dissolving side effects and risks include:

  • Slight bleeding
  • Bruising and or tenderness
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Volume loss or skin laxity
  • Allergic reaction

What to do after dissolving filler

Ok, so you’ve had your fillers dissolved; now what? Well, a good healthcare professional will run through the dos and don’ts after filler dissolving treatment but, essentially, these include (but are not limited to)...

  • Taking paracetamol in case of post-treatment pain
  • Using arnica cream or tablets to reduce bruising
  • Covering the treated area with ice packs if there’s a lot of swelling
  • Refraining from rigorous exercise for 24-48 hours
  • Staying hydrated

How long after dissolving filler can I get new fillers?

It might be the case that you want to dissolve your existing fillers that look unnatural or that have been causing you issues and want to replace them with new fillers. However, it’s recommended that you wait a couple of weeks before doing so. This is because A) it might take this long for the filler dissolving swelling to go down, and B) the hyaluronidase that’s been used to dissolve the previous filler might actually also dissolve any new filler that’s put in too soon after your dissolving filler treatment.

Looking to dissolve your fillers and tired of searching “dissolving filler near me”? If you’ve already reached out to the practitioner who performed your filler treatment and have had no luck resolving the issue, search Glowday for a healthcare practitioner in your area, fully trained in filler dissolving.

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